What Are Antioxidants

Nowadays we hear everybody telling us that our body needs antioxidants.But did you ever wonder what they are? Why are they important ? And what form do they come in? To your surprise antioxidants are present in what we eat. But to understand how they work for our body we need to know what antioxidant actually means .

Antioxidants are naturally occurring substances which counter the effect of free radicals in our body.It reverses the effect of oxidization.It is nothing scary but the cells in our body are exposed to oxygen as we breathe and step out in the sun.The body chemicals get altered resulting in free radicals that if left untouched damages parts of the body.Antioxidants can protect and reverse the damage of free radicals.

Our body produces antioxidants on its own but that’s not enough.It is advised to have a diet rich in antioxidants as free radicals multiply fast and once an Anti-oxidant has neutralized a free radical it looses its power to do it again.This being said we need to keep a constant supply of Anti-oxidants to keep our body safe and healthy.

Antioxidants are of three types enzymes, vitamins, and phytochemicals.Enzymes come from the protein and minerals we eat as part of our daily diets. Antioxidant enzymes require co-factors such as iron, copper, selenium, magnesium, and zinc to provide optimum antioxidant activity.

Common antioxidant vitamins include vitamins A, C, E, folic acid, and beta-carotene.The human body does not produce antioxidant vitamins naturally, so it is essential to include dietary sources of them in our daily intake of food.Vitamin A is essential for good vision, bone growth, reproduction cell functions, and the immune system. Vitamin C helps maintain healthy collagen in the skin, repair damaged tissue, protect the skin from UV damage, promote healthy teeth and bones, and promotes better iron absorption.Vitamin E helps boost the immune system , maintains healthy blood vessels and improves skin conditions.Folic acid is important for women of childbearing years.Beta-carotene is a carotenoid, they are highly pigmented as the colors of orange, red, and yellow. Beta-carotene converts to retinol, which is required for a person’s vision.

Phytochemicals are the antioxidants that are naturally used by plants to protect themselves against free radicals .Plants are exposed to UV light all throughout the day,they have a natural built-in protection system that prevents the free radicals from causing the cellular damage. Phytochemicals are found in natural whole foods, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

I hope this post gives an idea to what antioxidants are and their importance.If you have any questions and queries please comment below or email me at saraliciousfield@gmail.com

Check out the next post for Sources of Antioxidants/Food rich in Antioxidants.